This Sunday, Kansas Day, is the 156th anniversary of our beautiful state, making it a great day to visit the Trego County Historical Museum, where new collections, guest speakers and the recently completed annex have given our historians more opportunities than ever to tell the stories of our county.
At a museum, more floor space means more room to explore interesting collections. At the Trego County museum visitors will find 20th-century artifacts from local people, as well as prehistoric era fossils from a time when a great inland sea trapped some of the earliest sea creatures in limestone at the bottom of the great inland sea that once covered the High Plains.
Of particular interest are the early agricultural tools and machinery and the collection of memorabilia from the Trego County schools. Soon they’ll be adding to that display with photos from the Collyer school.
A recent installation in the museum is the ornate 1920s façade that once graced the front of the WaKeeney State Bank. Its 145 stones were a donation from local collectors Max and Irene Dirks and local volunteers contributed many hours to preparing them for installation.
Coming soon is a group of prehistoric and ancient fossils that were found on the farm of Leonard and Irene Purinton. Most of the items from either Trego or Gove County and the collection includes a mammoth femur and a squid fossil, sharks teeth, arrowheads, and many other unique items.
Look for the announcement of a special exhibit in April when the museum commemorates the 100th anniversary of World War I. They’ve recently uncovered several vintage propaganda posters deep in their archives and they will take center stage during the exhibition.
Last weekend Jim Gray, executive director of the National Drovers Hall of Fame, shared his knowledge of cowboy life during his talk, “Head ‘em Up and Move ‘em Out.” It was a great success, with over 95 people in attendance coming from as far away as Oklahoma.
Several other presenters have enlightened us with stories of other heroic pioneers, such as executive director of the Nicodemus Historical Society Angela Bates who spoke about the history of Nicodemus, the first all-black settlement founded on the Great Plains.
The museum is committed to hosting speakers who can provide a glimpse into the past through storytelling, research and their enthusiasm for the subject.
The recent addition of a 120 x 60 square foot building has doubled the museum’s display area, allowing easy access to twice as many displays with artifacts that had spent years in storage due to lack of space. Sections are dedicated to history dating back to prehistoric eras, the ancient past, early pioneer days, and all the way to our modern times, with ample room for guests to explore and a beautiful mural covering one wall.
In addition to the public space, an additional storage space is currently in the works to provide safe and secure storage for artifacts not on display. With this additional space the historians will be able to more efficiently organize and catalogue the museum’s entire collection.
Next time you’re in WaKeeney stop by the museum to explore all the great stories brought to life by the historians and volunteers of the Trego Historical Society Museum. Check their website for more information about their hours and directions to the museum. (TregoHistorical.org, 128 N. 13th St, WaKeeney, KS, 785.743.2964)